24 February 2007

Stephen Effing Harper!

As if it wasn't bad enough to be forced to watch our tax dollars being wasted on Stéphan Dion smear ads during prime time, then this poll came out showing that the Conservatives are actually gaining support! From who!?! Why?!?

Lets review a few of the asinine thing Harper has done since taking power just one short (though eternity-seeming) year ago:

¤ Reopened the (already settled by the Supreme Court) equal marriage debate
¤ Cut spending on social programmes despite having a 13 billion dollar surplus
¤ Cancelled a national daycare plan
¤ Reneged on the landmark Kelowna Accord, a ten-year, five billion dollar commitment designed to address First Nations poverty

Oh yeah, and he didn't address the World AIDS conference in Toronto, or ratify laws regarding the Kyōto Protocol. Really the list goes on and on, but why bother? We all know that Stephen Harper is a mangy, snake-faced, pig-dog boil on the scabby donkey ass of humanity. I really didn't think it was possible for me to have a lower opinion of him.

Until now.

During a speech in the House of Commons, Harper accused Sikh, Liberal MP Navdeep Bains of somehow being implicated in the Air India bombing over the North Atlantic in 1985, and accused the Liberals of creating a cover-up on Bain's behalf by refusing to to extend provisions in anti-terrorism law. Now never mind the fact that Bains was nine years old in 1985 — he's a Sikh, and Sikhs were involved in the bombing and therefore all Sikhs are bad. The alleged connexion between Bains and the Air India attack was that his father-in-law is on a list of potential list of witnesses for the Air India probe. Again lets ignore the fact that Bains had not yet met his father-in-law (being nine and all), and that hundreds of Sikhs are being considered as witnesses — brown people are all terrorists and should be sent back to where they came from.
God Stephen Harper; I knew you were a liar, a pig, an idiot and a homophobe — but an outright racist? You even refused to apologise, saying that it was up to Bains to deny the facts reported about him. Clearly, I shouldn't be surprised by your bigoted behavior, but I still kind of am.
Using racial stereotypes and personal attacks as a springboard to further your party's political agenda is unconscionable and disgusting. It's time to break out the big guns Stephen; You are officially: Dead to Me, Level Three. That's right, you heard me, Level Three! That's just one step above Hitler, Satan and Shannen Doherty. You are so dead to me that even my grandchildren's grandchildren will still sit around talking about what a horrible person you are.
For the good of Canada, Navdeep Bains, and my personal sanity, I think we should turn Alberta back into a territory. That way Ottawa gets all their oil money and coo-coo conservative yahoos like Harper and the people who vote for him no longer have any say in parliament. Everyone in the rest of Canada would be a whole lot happier.

17 February 2007

Disreputable Planet

Given the opportunity there aren’t many places in the wouldn’t go; Kyrgyzstan, Chad, you name it. But one place I would not go is Burma. —Now don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go. It’s supposed to be beautifully amazing. However, democratically elected leader and Noble Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi asked tourist not to visit Burma after the military seized power in 1988.

Since the coup, the military junta has done heaps of annoying and terrible things like: change the name of the country (to obnoxious and unfamiliar Myanmar); moved the capital (to Naypyidaw, a dusty, purpose-built settlement in the middle of nowhere); crippled the economy, tortured and killed pro-democracy activists; and persecuted ethnic minorities. In short, they are total douchbags. They have also kept Aung San Suu Kyi under an unflinching and unwavering house arrest which has prevented her from seeing her British-born children for the past 18 years, and kept her away from her husband’s funeral in 1999 (whom she’d hadn’t seen since 1989).

The jerk-faced Burmese military likes to have a finger in every pie and controls almost all aspects of the tourism industry (or more correctly most all aspects of every industry): hotels; transportation; restaurants; businesses; whatever’s going, you know they’re cashing in on it. Tourist dollars go straight into military coffers and provide much-needed foreign exchange to prop-up to the regime. Because this money allows the military junta to buy arms, consolidate their power, and smother dissent, Ang San Suu Kyi has asked foreign tourists to spend their money elsewhere and to not visit Burma.

Back in November (when I wanted to write this post, but didn’t have time), Lonely Planet published its fifth edition guide to Burma (nauseatingly referred to as ‘Myanmar’). That’s one-two-three-four-five editions of a guide to a country that shouldn’t even be on the tourist radar at all. Why are they publishing this guidebook? To go against the wishes of a nation’s democratically elected leader and put money in the pockets of a brutalitarian regime is totally irresponsible.

They do include a two-page “Should You Go to "Myanmar"?” section, which *of course* tells you should go (because otherwise you’re not going to buy their guidebook), arguing the trickle-down benefit to the local people. Realistically, if you are seriously concerned about the plight of the average Burmese person, I’m sure your money would have a much bigger impact and be of more benefit if you were to donate it to the Burma Campaign, rather than staying in a government-run hotel and wondering how that helps the local people when employees don’t get paid for months at a time then get beaten up if they try to complain.

Conversely, if you are a humble adventure tourist in search of a nice place for a vacation, there are plenty of countries in the world (without a self-imposed travel ban) where the local people are just as deserving of your tourist ¥¥¥ as the Burmese.

Anyway you dice it, this guidebook to Burma is bad news. People should not be going there, pointe finale. Lonely Planet, I’m calling you out for ignoring your moral duty and the request of Ms Suu Kyi, in the hopes of turning a quick buck. Shame on you! Your Lonely Planet Guide to “Myanmar” puts dollar signs ahead of social responsibility, and supports an oppressive and brutal dictatorship. –Because of this, I’m banishing Lonely Planet guidebooks from my bookshelf forever. You are: Dead to Me!

(If you stop publishing Burma guidebooks, or if the travel ban is lifted, you might get off my list, if you’re lucky. I probably still ixnay your guidebooks though for being such kowtowing, lackey jerks in the first place).

12 February 2007

Morning Musume Against the World

A while ago, I posted a Christmassy Youtube which featured Japanese pop superstars “Morning Musume.” As I mentioned, they are akin to the Spice Girls — Not really my bag so much, but hugely popular; with a roster of up to 13 singers changing faster than you can say ‘sushi combo #3.’ They've been riding the crest of the J-Pop wave, in numerous permutations, for a decade now, and show no signs of abating really.

Along the way, it would seem that they have had some monkeyshine run-ins with the animal kingdom. First, boy-band Smap! dressed up as bizarro Christmas poodles to shoot a music video with them, and then things got all Mutual of Omaha-crazy on them. So now, I present to you:
Morning Musume and the Menagerie of Bizarritude!

Morning Musume vs. Komodo Dragon
I thought everyone had seen this already, so I hadn’t posted it here, but apparently not. Now remember, these girls are big stars in Japan…

Morning Musume vs. Polar Bear

Can you imagine anything even remotely like this happening here? Christ, they are good sports over there. Brittney would never put on a mouse costume and run through the owl barn when I asked her.

Morning Musume vs. Snake
I think the girl in this is from Morning Musume, but I’m not sure. Either way, WTF!!! How did this get on TV?!

09 February 2007

Japanese for Half-Assed People VI

Genki: 元気: (ghen-key): adj., n. energetic

While the literal meaning of ‘genki’ is energetic, it’s used as a ‘how are you’-type greeting.

A: Genki?
B: Un, genki!

(or more formally)
A: O-genki desu ka?
B: Hai, genki desu yo!

However, unlike “How are you?,” which is an open-ended question with many possible responses, “genki?” assumes the natural state is energetic and up — Anything else requires a dissenting and contradictory “no,” which is simply terrible for maintaining a good sense of wa (harmony).

Demanding happy conformity is oh-so very Japanese.

03 February 2007

Dead to Me: My Job

Yeah, and here's another news flash; I like booze!

For anyone who's spent time with me in the last four months, you know that I find my job lameage to the max. —Basically I spend the day trying to solve problems; annoying, pointless problems; problems that wouldn't even exist if other people did their jobs properly in the first place. Terribly and intensely unsatisfying!

It's bland and suburban like a Wonderbread sandwich, and somewhat rather less exciting.

That is why I'm so enthusiastic about my Get-Me-the-Hell-Out-of-Here plan. While I am super-happy and lucky to know so my totally awesome people in Toronto, if I stay in this job I might as well move to Pickering right now and smother myself with oppressive mediocrity and minivans.

So, it looks like all signs point to going back to school, and those signs say "Paris." I'm in the middle of the application process for this translation school that's attached to the Sorbonne. School in France is *so* cheap, I'd be stupid to even consider going to school in Canada — about 4500$ dollars stupid since tuition in France is only about 500€ a year! Even though I'm a foreign student! And I get free national health-care! And I get a government stipend for a part of my rent! Crazy. Why doesn't everyone go to school in France?! So crazy; when I was talking to the girl who works in the education section of the French consulate, I couldn't even believe all the stuff she was telling me. So crazy cheap! It's a two year programme which gives me a masters in translation in the end, which is basically a ticket to ride, since pretty much every company in Canada needs translators.

I will have to go to Paris to write the entrance exam in April (since I missed the deadline for writing the overseas exam by a day!). Not tooo bad, Paris in springtime and all, but it's paying for the airfare that's the sticky wicket. The exams are the week before Easter, which is more expensive to fly than any other week in the spring. Boo-urns.

If I'd had any sense, I'd have stayed in Nihon, saved some yen and gone directly to Paris from there (and of course by 'sense' I mean 'ability to predict the future'). Well, I'm sure a week with hot, dirty French pédés will be good for my, uh, linguistic skills.

Now, I don't doubt that when I get accepted, my couch will become a flophouse for all my itinerant and wayward friends in search of Eurotrip hijinx, so I'll put the invite out there in preemptive anticipation; "My fromagey-mimey apartment is your fromagey-mimey apartment."

Gay Paree, here I come!

01 February 2007

Worst/Best Headline *Ever*!


Yeah, I bet he takes it – takes it real good!

Now, if I was a repressed and closeted Hollywood A-lister like Leo, my publicist would be so fired for letting this headline get out there. As if he really needed to advertise the fact that he’s a big power bottom and a selfish lover.

Way to go Metro for dishing the kind of salacious news-gossip we all want to know!